Busting Brackets

Texas Tech Basketball: Potential impact of landing 5-star guard RJ Hampton

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: RJ Hampton #5 and Jahmius Ramsey #10 of Team Ramsey pose for pictures on the court with Zion Harmon #1 of Team Stanley during the SLAM Summer Classic 2018 at Dyckman Park on August 18, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: RJ Hampton #5 and Jahmius Ramsey #10 of Team Ramsey pose for pictures on the court with Zion Harmon #1 of Team Stanley during the SLAM Summer Classic 2018 at Dyckman Park on August 18, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

5-Star Guard R.J. Hampton recently made the reclassification jump from 2020 to 2019 and cut his list to 4 teams, including runner-up Texas Tech Basketball. What would he mean to Chris Beard’s Program?

R.J. Hampton: a name every college basketball devotee should know, especially since his emergence into our lives will now occur one year sooner than scheduled. That’s right, the savvy combo guard is a true scholastic wonder and somehow finished high school in just three years, meaning he is eligible to suit up and play college basketball in 2019-20. Though previously a 2020 recruit, Hampton already had a laundry list of suitors hounding him on the recruiting trail. The usual suspects Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas were all putting the full-court press on Hampton during just his junior year.

After careful deliberation and a Herculean academic performance (making a year of high school disappear in thin air), Hampton and his family decided it would be best to take his talents to the class of 2019. In terms of his collegiate recruitment, this move changes the game completely, to the benefit of some parties. In correlation with reclassification, Hampton narrowed his list down to four schools: Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, and Texas Tech. Bill Self, John Calipari, and Penny Hardaway were all known threats in his recruitment, but Texas Tech and Chris Beard came as a surprise addition to his final list.

Whether or not there’s any substance behind a possible Hampton pledge to Tech is unknown. What isn’t unknown: how massive of a pickup he would be for the reigning runner-ups. Here’s how he could change the landscape in Lubbock.

Related Story. Red Raiders lock up Chris Beard. light

For starters, R.J. Hampton, should he commit to the Red Raiders, would be the highest rated recruit in the history of the program, a title he would immediately usurp from current incoming freshman Jahmius Ramsey. His addition would mark the first of five-star caliber in Lubbock and would signify Chris Beard’s firepower on the recruiting trail. Snagging someone who is perennially considered a superstar from the clutches of Coach K, Self, Calipari and that lot would be a significant statement.

In the past two seasons, Beard thrived with less heralded recruits–chiefly, two low-star recruits who blossomed into high NBA draft picks (Jarrett Culver and Zhaire Smith). This speaks to Beard’s tremendous ability to scout and develop talent, but he won’t continue to hit recruiting home runs at this rate. Two- and three-star talents rarely skyrocket into lottery pick status in their first two seasons, and eventually Tech will need to improve its recruiting.

Fortunately, Chris Beard is already reaping the benefits of his on-court success bonanza, as evidenced by Tech’s 16th ranked recruiting class, headlined by 4-stars Ramsey and Terrence Shannon Jr. Of course, there’s also Hampton they’re pursuing, who this article is about. Add him (I’d say it’s unlikely but 18-year-olds are crazy man, so don’t rule anything out) and TT is looking at a certain top-10 and possibly top-5 class: an unprecedented haul for the program.

Landing a 5-star is a nice garnish on paper to complement what is already a feisty Red Raider club heading into 2020, but what would Hampton’s addition mean from purely a basketball perspective. I’ll give you a hint: it would, in fact, be positive.

Hampton is a combo guard and simply a pure scorer, a bucket-getter. As a lanky wizard with the ball in his hands, Hampton thrives scoring in iso situations and can seemingly maneuver around any defender off the dribble. His arms are ridiculously long and aid his already diverse at-the-rim finishing repertoire. The jump-shot is improving and will be a more-than-viable threat at the college level. With those octopus arms, though, he’ll have to focus on implementing more verticality in his shooting mechanics as he tends to extend out instead of up while shooting the basketball.

At 6’5 and a point guard, that will hardly be of consequence next season at the college level but is something to work on in the future. Hampton will be one of the best players in college basketball next season. He’s got the offensive skillset to perform as an All-American, and his currently average defensive prowess will be bolstered mightily should he choose Texas Tech–a defensive powerhouse under Beard.

In terms of fit with the current personnel, I love it. As it currently stands, Texas Tech is slated to start Ramsey and Davide Moretti in the backcourt–two guys who can fill either guard role. Add Hampton in the mix and you’re now left with three dynamic offensive players in the backcourt who all serve varying specializations. Hampton can be the lead ball-handler and primary rim-attacker, Moretti is the sniper and safety pin of the offense, and Ramsey can shoot from deep or put the ball on the hardwood. Kyler Edwards is a confident bruising shooter off the pine and we’re talking about one of the best backcourts in the nation, let alone the Big 12.

Next. Way-too-early Big 12 power rankings for 2019-20. dark

Texas Tech is lacking the obvious potential first-round NBA talent as of now, but adding Hampton reverses that narrative instantly. With him on deck, Way-Too-Early Rankings authorities would absolutely thrust Tech into top-10 conversation, and I (if granted the fortune telling powers of Way Too Early ranking) would peg them as a likely top-5 team heading into next season. Red Raider fans, be on the lookout; Hampton is a surefire stud who would be a landmark recruiting victory.